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The Straight-Line Depreciation is Wanted, Dead or Alive


  • Danny Ben-Shahar

    () (Israel Institute of Technology)

  • Yoram Margalioth

    () (Tel Aviv University)

  • Eyal Sulganik

    () (The Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya)


We propose a simple axiomatic system that any depreciation method¡ªcomplying with the core of the accounting of depreciation¡ªmust obey. We show that, while none of the prevalent depreciation methods (e.g., straight-line) ex ante conforms to these principles, the accredited proportional depreciation method not only maintains the axiomatic system, but also, for a plausible family of depreciation methods, is the unique method that complies with the axiomatic system. We further propose two consistency requirements of a depreciation method¡ªpartition consistency and dynamic consistency¡ªand show that, in contrast to the commonly used methods, the proportional depreciation method is the only one to always sustain both. Our analysis may provide further resolution to the arguable evidence on the dominance of Funds From Operations over net income in measuring performance in the real estate industry.

Suggested Citation

  • Danny Ben-Shahar & Yoram Margalioth & Eyal Sulganik, 2009. "The Straight-Line Depreciation is Wanted, Dead or Alive," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 31(3), pages 351-370.
  • Handle: RePEc:jre:issued:v:31:n:3:2009:p:351-370

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hugh O. Nourse, 1994. "Measuring Business Real Property Performance," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 9(4), pages 431-444.
    2. Juan Aparicio & Joaquín Sánchez-Soriano, 2008. "Depreciation games," Annals of Operations Research, Springer, vol. 158(1), pages 205-218, February.
    3. Jeffrey D. Fisher & Brent C Smith & Jerrold J. Stern & R. Brian Webb, 2005. "Analysis of Economic Depreciation for Multi-Family Property," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 27(4), pages 355-370.
    4. repec:bla:joares:v:34:y:1996:i:2:p:209-234 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert Edelstein & Steve Fortin & Desmond Tsang, 2012. "An International Exploration of Financial Reporting Practices in the Real Estate Industry," International Real Estate Review, Asian Real Estate Society, vol. 15(3), pages 347-372.

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    JEL classification:

    • L85 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Real Estate Services


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